Who Knew Two Triangles Could Do So Much?: The Hexagram

By Rebecca

A hexagram, at its most simple, can be described as two interlocked equilateral triangles that form a six-pointed star.  That’s it.  That is all it is.  How the heck do two triangles accomplish so darn much?  By diversifying.

First, we cannot discuss the hexagram without saying the phrase, Star of David.  The hexagram is one of the most recognized symbols of Judaism and is used as a symbol of the modern State of Israel.  It is also referred to as the Magen David, or Shield of David.  It derives this association from the traditional belief that David carried a hexagrammic shield against Goliath.  You know, from the epic feather weight verse heavy weight fight David vs. Goliath.  The fact is that the hexagram, as the Star of David, is so closely associated with the Jewish faith that it is easy to forget that there is so much more that these triangles do!

Let’s talk about the Seal of Solomon.  The symbol is featured prominently in the medieval legends of King Solomon, who bore the symbol on a magical signet ring.  The hexagram, as the Seal of Solomon, is generally surrounded by a circle and can feature 4 gemstones.  It is believed to have protective powers and magical properties by Kabbalists.  However, it’s not just them.  The hexagram has a long history of providing protection from demons and evil spirits.  In some magical practices, it is associated with exorcisms.

Because of all of its balance, the hexagram shows up in alchemy as well.  The hexagram shows the unity of the elements.  The upward triangle signifies fire, while the downward represents water, showing the reconciliation of these two conflicting elements.  It also represents the union of male and female energy, with the upper triangle being man and the lower being woman.  It gets even more mileage from four triangles being derived from it to represent earth, fire, air, and water.  Sometimes the upper triangle is white, while the lower one is black, thus symbolizing the union of opposites.

Thanks to the limitless possibilities of associations, the hexagram can represent even more!  It is sometimes called the Creator’s Star, where each point represents a day of the week and the central hexagram symbolizes the Sabbath (or seventh day for those of you counting).  Is that too ancient for you?  How about this one?  The notorious street gang The Crips even uses this symbol.  You’ll find members with tattoos of it and it’s in their graffiti.  Allegedly, the six points stand for love, unity, money, loyalty, wisdom, and understanding.  Or so I’m told, I am definitely not gangsta!

All of this, and I haven’t mentioned that the hexagram also appears in Mandalas as a meditative image.  It also turns up in cave drawings from primitive South American cultures.

Whew!  That’s a lot of stuff for two triangles!  What should you take away from this?  I guess that basic things are the building blocks of bigger, more complex things.  Two triangles have managed to span time, and merely from interlocking have become a permanent fixture for the ages.

Think this was a lot?  There’s a whole lot more out there to learn about these two feisty triangles.  A good starting point is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram.  But trust me, that really is just the beginning.